Overton in overdrive
The former Indiana University standout put himself in position Friday to get that first win at the inaugural Greenbrier Classic, firing a career-low 8-under-par 62 to seize the second-round lead.
Overton, who posted a 6-under 64 in Thursday's opening round, turned in eight birdies and no bogeys to post a two-round score of 14-under 126. He sank four birdies in a row at one point, bridging the back and front nine. (He began on No. 10.)
"It was a lot like yesterday,'' said Overton, who has four top-three finishes in his last nine tournaments. "I hit a lot of fairways, and I really hit the driver well. Hit it right down the middle, and left me a lot of shots inside 100 yards."
Boo Weekley matched his best round of the year with a 7-under 63 in Friday morning's grouping, but had to settle for second with a 10-under 130, four strokes behind Overton.
Overton and Weekley have plenty of challengers as some of the world's top golfers continued their assault on the historic par-70, 7,031-yard Old White Course for the second straight day. Fifteen golfers shot a 65 or better under mostly sunny skies and temperatures in the low 80s with very little humidity.
Erik Compton, a double heart transplant recipient who was the first-round co-leader with a 7-under 63 Thursday, shot a 68 to slip into a tie for third with Jimmy Walker, the 2004 Nationwide Tour player of the year, who had a 64. Matt Every, a 2009 Nationwide Tour graduate who shared the first-round lead, had a 2-over 72 in the second round and fell to a tie for 27th.
It took 2-under to land in the top 70, including ties, which was the cut line after 36 holes, and 85 golfers did so. The lowest cut this season was 4-under at the John Deere Classic.
Because so many golfers made Friday's cut, there will be another cut after today's third round, again at the lowest 70 players including ties.
Jonathan Bartlett, who earned an exemption after winning June's West Virginia Amateur, made the cut after carding a 2-under 68 to rebound from an opening round of even par. Bartlett sells real estate for The Greenbrier's Sporting Club.
Notable golfers missing Friday's cut included Paul Goydos, who carded a 59 at the John Deere Classic, Kenny Perry, who opened with a 75 and couldn't recover, Lee Janzen, David Toms, Jeff Maggert, Alex Cejka and Sam Saunders, Arnold Palmer's grandson. Also out is Barry Evans, the head pro at Berry Hills Country Club in Charleston who earned an exemption through the Tri-State PGA.
Aaron Baddeley, Briny Baird, Chris Stroud, who had a 63 Friday, and Charles Howell III were tied for fifth at 8 under. Jim Furyk, the highest-ranked golfer in the field, was among nine players tied for ninth at 7 under. Furyk followed up an opening-round 68 with a 65.
Overton has four top-10 finishes this year, taking second at the Zurich Classic of New Orleans, tying for second at the HP Byron Nelson Championship and finishing third at the Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial. The 27-year-old Evansville, Ind., native tied for 11th at the British Open.
Overton entered this week 12th in the FedExCup standings, 55th in the World Golf Rankings and 10th on the PGA money list.
"I really don't know the last time I was playing with this much confidence,'' he said. "I guess you could say I'm also feeling very comfortable. I've always been a pretty confident golfer - you have to be to get to this level - but I just feel more and more comfortable the more I'm out here and seeing and getting to know these players and seeing your name on the leader board and just kind of getting used to the whole PGA Tour lifestyle.
"I'd take a win over second any day of the week. That's what it's all about. Saying you're the best in the world at something, that's pretty cool. I'd love to win, especially out here. You just never know when it's your time.''
Weekley, who finished runner-up in the Nationwide Tour's Pete Dye Classic in 2006, carded seven birdies in a bogey-free second round Friday.
"I've always felt like I played good on old-style golf courses, you know, where it's tree-lined and you pick your spot, you hit it at the tree or you can pick a bunker, start it at a bunker, hook it off a bunker,'' said Weekley, who has a pair of top 10 finishes this year.
"So I kind of like these kind of golf courses, ain't real long. It's a real fair golf course and where you can get in there. If you're driving well, you can actually take advantage of the yardage that you're playing from.''
Reach Tommy R. Atkinson at tatkin...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-4811.